Saudi Arabia is set to punish 75-year-old woman with 40 lashes, imprisonment and deportation for being in the company of a young man she once breastfed.
A 75-year-old woman is set to be given 40 lashes, imprisoned for four months and deported to Syria after Saudi religious police caught her in the company of a young man she once breastfed and who claimed to have been bringing her bread.
Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, 75, and two younger men, known only as Hadyan and Fahad, were found guilty of violating a sex-segregation law known locally as khilwa.
Sawadi has claimed that the sex segregation law should not apply as she breastfed Fahad when he was a child.
The international human rights group Amnesty International has called on Saudi Arabia to stay the sentence.
"This punishment amounts to torture and extreme human degradation," Lamri Chirouf, a Saudi Arabia researcher for Amnesty International told The Media Line. "It's in direct contrast to international human-rights standards that protect human dignity."
"These people have not done anything wrong beyond being together," he said. "This is their private life and it shouldn't constitute a crime under international law. It's as simple as that."
"Whenever they catch people together who are not immediate relatives, they punish them," Chirouf added. "The problem in Saudi Arabia is that the criminal justice system is very secretive. Cases of floggings and amputations happen all the time but they are rarely reported."
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